Safety classes are given to all Mishawaka 3rd grade students, and a growing number of South Bend students. As bicycles are used more and more for practical transportation, these safety classes are becoming more important each year.
In South Bend, the Bike Michiana Coalition is partnering with Michiana Bicycle Association to teach bicycle safety to many students in the South Bend School Corporation.
Judy Lee, one of the organizers says “We target third graders because this is the developmental age when children begin to ride a bike independently.” The safety education class consists of a one hour program that highlights the rules of the road and safe cycling practice, i.e. visibility, courtesy, and predictability. Students are constantly reminded to wear their helmet every time they ride their bike. This brief instruction provides tools for safe and healthy cycling and they learn to respect their environment as well.
After a brief instruction, each child is fit with a safety approved helmet to be kept as their own. The students proudly wear their helmet back to their classroom and on their way home.
The program got underway two years ago with enough helmets to teach one school. Last year they were able to teach in five schools with approximately 200 helmets. This year they have started with two schools with a goal of teaching every third grade class in the South Bend School each spring. Initially, Michiana Bicycle Association, following their mission to promote safe cycling education, supported the startup funding with Bike Michiana Coalition budgeting monies for the past three years. Bicycle Indiana and grants have also provided funding.
The classes in Mishawaka are somewhat different, and are more extensive. In that city, St. Joseph Community Pediatrics and Lt. Tim Williams team up to provide a bicycle safety program to all of the 3rd grade students in Mishawaka. Therefore, in 2010 Mishawaka 3rd graders received approximately 950 bicycle helmets, which were furnished by St. Joseph Community Pediatrics of Mishawaka.
Anyone wishing to make a tax deductible donation to support either of these programs can do so by using the PayPal donate button on this Bike Michiana web site. When you make the donation, there will be a space for comments, and you can say which program you want to support.